Title: Withering Rose
Author: Kaitlyn Davis
Series: Once Upon A Curse #2
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Format: eBook, 314 pages
Publisher: Xpresso Book Tours
Release Date: May 17th, 2016
Rating: 1.5 out 5 stars
What if Beauty was cursed, and the Beast was the only one who could save her? Don’t miss WITHERING ROSE, a dystopian romance from bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis that reimagines the classic fairy tale of Beauty & The Beast. This is the second book in Once Upon A Curse, a series of interconnected stand-alone novels all set in the same fantasy universe.
“As the heat finally disappeared, I felt the bloom blossom in the very core of my soul, a rose just like my name–a ticking clock hidden behind a façade of beauty. From that moment on, my life would become a countdown, and all I could do was wait and watch as the petals of time slowly started to fall.”
Omorose Bouchene has a secret–magic. There’s only one problem. At the age of seven, an earthquake struck, catapulting her into a new world. A land made of skyscrapers and cell phones. Fast cars and fluorescent lights. A land where magic isn’t supposed to exist and anyone who wields it is the enemy.
But after ten years of hiding, she’s desperate to find a place where she can be free. Because all magic comes with a curse, and her curse is time–every ounce of power she uses strips days off of her life. The clock is winding down, and the only option left is to escape to the realm of the Beast. But the king of monsters isn’t what he seems. And the more Omorose opens her heart, the more she comes to realize that the only person she may need to fear is herself.
What first drew me in about this book was the cover, I’m not going to lie. While it’s not the best book cover I’ve seen, it still captivated me enough to pique my interest. Then I read the synopsis and was even further intrigued. What is more, the fact that this book is part of a series but it can be understood without having read the first one was a huge bonus, because I haven’t, in fact, read the first installment.
Withering Rose is a Beauty and the Beast retelling turned on its head. This time around, it’s Beauty that is cursed and the Beast is the only one who can help break her free. After a horrific earthquake that manages to break the boundaries between Earth and a fantasy world filled with magic, Omorose is thrust into our own modern day. Except, in this version of Earth there are people dedicated to destroying all magic. Because of that, Omorose’s father forbids her of using her own lest she is found out and killed. When the pressure becomes too much, Omorose flees with the hope that the mythical Beast that lives in the fringes where the borders between worlds meet can help her.
Quite honestly, I went into this book with pretty low expectations. Perhaps the cause of this was the fact that I checked the ratings and reviews before requesting it. There really was no other way but up. Or at least, I thought there wasn’t. This book is supposedly a cute retelling with a modern twist that people might enjoy on a nice day out in the sun, but for me it’s a let-down.
There is not enough world-building. The world and the magic are not developed to the extend that I wish they are, but maybe that’s because this is the second book in a series and since I haven’t read the first one, it’s my own fault for not understanding enough. Still, I found the setting to be lacking. What is more, Omorose and the Beast’s magic abilities are hardly explained throughout the novel – we’re simply told they have Powerful magic that didn’t seem all that powerful at all. (Making flowers grow and turning into different animals are hardly what I’d call immense force.) The whole book is pretty vague on the things that are supposed to carry the most weight.
Omorose is quite the annoying character, not going to lie. You’d think that with the way she grew up, she’d be a bit more appreciative of the fact that she’s alive, but all she does is complain that she can’t use magic (that will eventually get her killed if she does use it, so I’m not really getting her frustration.) The Beast is really only there to further the plot, not a fully-fleshed out character. He’s also kind of creepy and too impulsive and adding the fact that he turns into an animal whenever he can’t control his Temper, he makes for the perfect guy to stay away from. But not really, because he’s actually a Softie, somewhere Deep Down.
The romance happens in a blink. One page she’s afraid of him, the other they’re holding hands. I don’t know, it hardly seems like the Natural thing to do when you meet someone whose reputation is based on their savagery. Not at least until after they take you to dinner and you get to know them. But he’s a Bad Boy with a Heart of Gold, so why not jump into it right away? I cannot get on board with their love story as the novel failed to convince me of its probability.
My biggest issue might be the writing. It’s very choppy and chunky and every other sentence is on a new line.
There’s also a lot of Captain Obvious statements that I feel have been written by Uzma, right before she turns Kuzco into a llama. The narrative reminds a little bit of a derailed train – the reader gets lost every other line because the chain-link is broken into a thousand little ones. I found it very hard to follow, and also very difficult to read, not only because of the broken-up pieces of narrative, but also because the author’s choice of phrasing felt too unnatural to actually be considered a train of thought in the first place.
Overall, I was incredibly dissatisfied with this story. Withering Rose might be a joy to read for some, but for me it was a pain. There are just too many things that irked me, and I’m not sure if that’s because I’m overly critical or because they’re actually irritating. Nevertheless, this book is definitely not for me and I do not care enough to return for the next installment.